Ian Goldsmith iangoldsmith1969 at
Mon May 27 06:37:49 EDT 2002

Good morning all.

Deladier asked the meaning of 'almah' I believe, got
the reply:

"Body:  Betulah means specifically a virgin, while
almah is a young woman old enough 
to get married, but not necessarily a virgin. Almah is
better translated 
'maid' or 'young lady' rather than virgin."

Agreed, but with the note that 'almah' seems to be
shown nowhere to mean anything other than virgin.
Surely in the culture of the time of the author if she
were not a virgin this would be noted.

'Almah' (halmah with article) appears a handful of
times and in none of them is the word given not to
mean 'virgin'. 
'Narah' is more commonly used of young women and these
seem to be given the benefit of the doubt about the
status as well.

The LXX and NT both attest that this was generally
accepted as 'virgin'. I'm hope I'm not showing
religious bias, merely pointing out that this word
seems to have been generally accepted to imply that
the young lady had kept her honour. 


Ian Goldsmith.

Dibrah Torah kilshone bnei-adam
'The Torah spoke in the language of ordinary men.'
Berakot 31b

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